doubts and desires

Motherhood and anything that keeps me awake at night.

On Finding a balance _SAHM

 

A great deal of my writing is pure catharsis and indispensable, and by not practicing it more often, I’m losing one of the things I truly love.

I have mentioned before my unquenchable longing to write again. My goal was/is not only to write with a discipline that makes me proficient at the art, but most importantly to find a balance. The balance that I seek is between both of my dreams: raising Ishaan and being a writer. And this balance for me right now is nothing but an inscrutable lore. I do not know where to begin. How do you find the balance when you’re a full time SAHM? How do you find the balance between your child’s breakfast, play time, story time, errands, cooking, picking up, lunch time, diaper changes, colds, fevers, doctor visits, playdates, and the daily grind? I haven’t really been able to. I have mastered putting and keeping Ishaan on a schedule, but I have miserably failed at incorporating my writing on a day-to-day basis. Then how do I manage to post twice a week, you might ask? I sacrifice my sleep mostly, which is to me of essence as I need a lot of sleep to be able to fully function the next day for Ishaan and do the whole thing all over again. Therefore, that wasn’t/isn’t working out for me. And then it hit me. If I am to write everyday with a regimen and focus, (and when I say focus, I mean immersing myself in my work,) it will have to be when Ishaan naps. It’s the only real-time I have of absolute silence and no diversions. I cannot write with commotion or music. And it’s hard to write when he’s awake as there will obviously be interruptions. And disruptions while I write is not only frustrating but harmful to my flow. I tried it once while he quietly played with his blocks. But who was I kidding? How long at the end of the day can a 15 month old stay still? The interference made me more frustrated than if I hadn’t written at all. Why? Flow is critical. And the disruption of that flow is a writer’s momentary death. So this is what I plan on doing and I have implemented that right now. Write when he naps. That’s my balance. At least for right now. Ringer off. No social networks. It’s just me and my writing. Sit in the room and hit that keyboard.

I have received a plethora of honest and warm advice from family and friends on what I should do about this balance that appeared unattainable. I am still not certain if it really is, but I’m going to give it a fair shot. Some said I should get help, like a nanny, and some said to put Ishaan in a daycare for a couple of hours a day. Ewww to both suggestions. Though I know they all come from a good place. And thank you for looking out!

But…

Like I have told Tapas, I want to be the one to raise Ishaan. Not someone else. I’m not trying to prove good parenting when I say I want to be the one who gets up with him in the mornings, brushes his teeth, makes his breakfast, plays with him, teaches him words, the alphabet, numbers, and colors. I want to be able to sit with Ishaan and read to him and then give him his lunch and watch him calmly fall into slumber. I want to be there when he wakes up again, full of energy and ready for his mid-afternoon snack. I want to be the one who changes his diapers and keeps count of the wet ones and the #2s. I want to make him his dinner, be there to see him savor it as he says “yammy, yammy” with every bite. I then want to be there for his evening routine. Bath time. Milk. Story time, and lights off. Because the way I see it, I’ll only get to do this once. He’ll only be a baby/toddler once and then in seventeen years from now, he’ll be off to college and even though that seems light years away, I’m sure the years will fly as has his first 15 months of life. I have only blinked and Ishaan now is walking and talking. So I understand that I have a choice. I understand that I can make things easier for myself by creating the time to write. I can do the full-time writing the way I once did it pre-Ishaan, where I wrote ten hours a day until Tapas arrived home. I can have the help come daily, as I write. And perhaps my writing will finally take off, but a part of me, and it would actually be the biggest part of me, would not feel right about it. A constant sadness and void will nag me. Thus, thwarting my ambitions to write. Knowing that my writing could result in the possibility of missing a day with Ishaan just doesn’t make sense for me. It doesn’t fit my ideal. And it’s not a flare of guilt that keeps me from writing either. Honestly, guilt dissolves in the understanding that Motherhood is complex and it comes with no script. So I go with my heart instead and my heart whispers Ishaan.

Juggling writing and motherhood

Do I make it more difficult for myself? Of course. I am fully aware that me not being able to write is completely my decision. A very personal one too. As parenting is all personal. But it’s a decision I feel good about. I wouldn’t and couldn’t have it any other way. And again, this is just me. Many moms have a nanny come in from 9am-4pm, as they lock themselves up in a room, write, and then bid the nanny a farewell, take the kids to the park, and return home in time to make dinner. Does that sound tempting? Absolutely. Would I like that? Without a doubt.  Why wouldn’t I like to write in peace, by myself, for that many hours in a day? But the question is, which is what someone asked me, “Would you be able to live with yourself everyday if it were that way?” The answer is no. Not being there for Ishaan with the sheer intensity that I want to be, is not where I want my heart to tread. That would only lead to life’s biggest foe: regrets. Because at  the end of the day, I’d rather raise Ishaan. I’d rather give him my all now in these very critical and informative years than it be anyone else. Does this mean that I’m choosing him over my writing? Yes. It does. That is precisely what it means. That is exactly the conclusion to this entire admission. Which brings me to this article, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.”  Slaughter professes some really brave sentiments on choosing between her career and children. Hence, the title. And I cannot deny that a part of me agrees with her. But maybe there’s another way to look at it. Which then brought me to this article. Lacey writes on a side of feminism that really makes you feel empowered. In her eyes, women can have it all. And by the way, she does.  After all, having it all is subjective and personal. Hence, I ask myself, do I have it all?

My response is a resounding yes. But perhaps not all at once.

I have a home. I live a comfortable life. A very comfortable life. My son is healthy. I have a loving and kind son. Tapas works hard to give us this comfortable life. He supports me as a mom. Supports without question every decision I make as a mom and trusts my decisions. He also unconditionally supports my writing. I do get to write. Not as much as I would like, but again, I’d rather be Ishaan’s mother a hundred times over, then a full-time writer. Because one day when Ishaan is at school, I will be able to be that full time writer and in the meantime, I’ll practice the artistry during his naps. Lucky for me Ishaan naps 3 hours every day and that for the moment is enough. I feel fulfilled at the end of the day knowing that not only did I give Ishaan 120%, but I wrote. Even if it was a paragraph, I wrote. However, though Lacy painted a more realistic picture of the middle class moms, I can’t help but to find myself understanding Slaughter. At the end of the day, there are some women who have to choose between family and career. Perhaps Lacy didn’t, more power to her, but some women do.

Someone once told me that Motherhood will make you lose your identity. “You will lose yourself.” I can understand why she would say this to me, because it happened to her. However, as time passes and my son gets older, I realize I haven’t lost myself. I have inevitably changed, of course. I am now a Mom with the biggest responsibility a human being can have, raising a child, but if I see my journey as losing myself I’m inviting negative thoughts and feelings into something that is beautiful, happy, and rewarding. Therefore, I have switched paradigms. I haven’t lost myself. I am redefining myself. And in many ways, I am a better version of myself.

I have read advice from many writers on finding the time to write and one that stands out most is this: “A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.” Some truths can really open your eyes. Once I read this, I implemented a plan of action. And here I am, writing when Ishaan is napping next to me. I have a dozen other things I need to do. Like prepare dinner, get his snack ready, think about my detox, but writing is part of my life too. So, I’m here, trying to begin this balance of breathing, being a mom, raising Ishaan, writing, being a wife, cooking, and exhaling.

Don DeLillo Tells The Paris Review

What’s challenging about my writing is not only the obvious, the time, or lack there of, but picking up the thread from the previous day. Mostly because at times it is impossible, or nearly impossible to transform from Mommy mode to Me mode, or Writer mode. I’m up with Ishaan from 8am-1pm before my writing time commences. That’s a lot of hours of complete Mommy mode. My mind is absorbed on Ishaan. Therefore, once his nap time rolls around it’s a challenge to slow your mind down and reach a level of serenity and concentration. In other words, leave one world and enter another. (Maybe I should have a glass of wine to help me relax? Read what this mommy has to say about that here.)

See, let me be as straightforward as I can be. I’ve never really stuck to anything in my life. Hmm. That sounds vague. Allow me to elaborate so my point isn’t missed or misunderstood. Throughout my life I have always been impulsive. I’ll say I want to do something, I’ll do it, but not with my full heart’s content, or with all my heart for that matter. Then I quickly just became uninterested and utterly bored. This applied to academics, extracurricular activities and some relationships for that matter. I even volunteered at Miami Children’s Hospital for 2 years. On Saturday mornings! But after those two years, it became monotonous. Therefore, now that I have Ishaan, it’s the first time in my life that I actually give something/someone my all. And though no one is perfect and I never will be, I want to at least make the attempt to do this one thing in my life, right. I don’t aim to be the perfect mom. Who would I be kidding? I don’t aim to be even be the best mom. I just want to be a mom. My definition of a mom. The mom that I perceive myself to be for Ishaan. I just want to be Ishaan’s mom and that means being present as much as I can. That means showering him with love and helping him grow. That means giving up other things that I once use to love to do. And again, this is my choice. I understand I don’t have to give it up. I understand that I can do it all. Of course I can. I’m a woman of strength and determination. But I can’t be cut in two. See, being a mom is more real and more true to my nature than anything I ever was before.

And don’t give me the psychobabble bullshit of it’s an unhealthy balance because I need time to myself. I do get the time to myself. I have those three hours while he naps seven days a week. My mother (God bless her!) comes twice a week for several hours and she takes over all of Ishaan’s responsibilities. During that time I get to either write again if I want, or go out and pamper myself. For many moms that isn’t enough time. I understand that. But for me, that’s more than enough. When I walk in after being away for let’s say no more than 4 hours, Ishaan comes running to the door yelling, “Mama! Mama!” I kneel to meet him at his eye level and he embraces me as I do him. He rests his head on my shoulders and those tiny fingers play with my hair. This is Love. This is what fulfills me. Moments like these I believe life is beautiful after all. This is what I live for. It’s not whether I had the time to do my nails. Or whether I saw the latest blockbuster. But it’s my relationship with Ishaan, it’s cultivating that relationship that is the most important thing to me in my life.

 

How about you? Have you found a balance? I’d love to hear from other mommies and daddies on how they juggle it all.

 

 

Advertisements

Primitive writing in my 20s

 

Last night, as everyone slept, I went through my archives and came across a handful of primitive forms of what was once my writing. (My back-in-the-day writing.) In hindsight, a lot of what I wrote was very amateur-like, but filled with raw emotions, nonetheless. I was not surprised to find a constant theme in those pages: sorrow. Most of my writing then was inspired by a mean-spirited poignance. But, I had an unusual morose disposition then. Today, that theme has changed. However, there is something about this poem that I have always been drawn to.  Maybe it’s because I know where my heart had fallen while writing it. Maybe it’s because I actually do feel at one moment in time it was a work of art. Would I write it differently now? I will not deny there are parts I would change and I thought about making those changes before sharing this with all of you. However, I decided against it because it wouldn’t be authentic. It wouldn’t be the drawn unfiltered voice of that 26 year old girl. This was/is a part of my many plateaus during my 20s. (I wrote about those years here) Hence, the poem remains untouched. And for whatever it’s worth, during those years, I wrote completely and truly unguarded. So here she is, the freehearted me.

You’re Still Here

A breeze makes its way to me

Through my window

Swiftly

(Entering without welcome)

Pass the curtains

A pause

It floats

A white cloud above me

With hues of blue

Quietly

Not wanting to disturb

Alarm

Interrupt

As I lay

Still

Under the covers

In oblivion

Giving me a keen stare

Slowly moving closer

A familiar touch

I mistake them for your hands

They envelop me

Bind me to the moment

Sheltering me

Consolingly

I know it’s You.

 

I walk amid a crowd of people

(Lost-

Desire becoming foreign)

I see them

Smiling

Talking

Holding

For them-

Life is balloons and whistles

I hear the sound of cars

The engines

The beep of the horns

Then Silence

(Life stopped for me long ago)

It follows me

I recognize its presence

Fuses with my shadow

I know it’s You.

 

In bed

Awake

I look at the clock

One o’clock in the morning

A ray of street light

Sneaks its way through my window

Its reflection on my face

I know it’s You.

 

Morning

Another day

The breeze enters my window

Brushes my face

Greets me

I get up

Peace follows me to the kitchen

Sits with me while I eat

I know it’s You.

You’re still here.

 

Do you have any pieces from many years ago that you would share? What was your reaction when you read and heard your voice of long ago? What emotions did it provoke? 

Spring Fever

What are you up to this weekend? I am going to to look into two yoga classes and then it’s Grandma’s house on Sunday. It will be a nice break from the surrounding hullabaloo. I must admit, this Winter has been tough on my psyche. And the following is a complete contradiction to what I wrote here, but I am longing for Spring. And not New York’s rendition of Spring, but the blooming of flowers, the budding of leaves, warmer weather, fresh blue skies, breeze, and flying a kite. I do love the Winters, but maybe I was recalling that from my single days, or more like pre-Mommy days, because Winter is far from fun when you have a baby who is constantly with a running nose, a cough, or a fever. It’s a vicious cycle that only Spring can break. And today is the first official day of Spring. Guess how New York welcomes the new season? With 3-5 inches of snow.

In the meantime, this is what I have been up to this week.

I finally finished this book. It’s the first book I finish since I became a Mom, so this calls for a celebration. And how will I celebrate? By reading this book.

I am slowly creating my writing space and I’m liking this as my desk.

Ahem. Did you know that breasts can shrink after breast feeding?

India’s Daughter: A documentary about the Delhi gang rape of 2012 that has been banned in India. Will you watch it? I did. Warning. It provokes deep raw emotions that you may not be prepared for long after you see it.

Here is Charming’s new face.

Pillows! Pillows! Pillows!

The perfect birthday shirt for my brother.

Shorts that are very Summer 2015

Get a pair of Birkenstocks! (Can you tell I’m preparing for warm weather?)

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

 

I should preface this by saying I have always had an impenetrable desire to read. I was like a ravenous beast whose thirst were books. There was a time when I read several books a month. With much enthusiasm I started a book club, but that wasn’t long lived. Regardless, a lot of my time was spent with my nose stuck in a book and writing. Of course, this was pre-Mommy days when I was wrapped up with myself, my thoughts, and heedless of time. Time was endless. Now, I rarely can get several chapters in a week. As a result, a book can sadly take several months to finish.

Thus, instilling my boundless passion and profound respect for books, (the book nerd side of me) to Ishaan was without question a plan, a goal, a wish. I do realize that despite my daily efforts of reading to him, he can turn out to be like those people who never own a book. (The kind of man I would never have dated. Or at least seriously dated) However, I’m not giving up. And so far, it’s actually an effortless process. He loves it. He enjoys it. He embraces his books, stacks them up, and flips the pages of each book with a flair I cannot help but to admire. As I silently watch him, I ask myself, is he going over what I read to him? Or is his imagination taking leaps and strides? His ingenuity many times amazes me. Just the other day, while quietly flipping through the pages of this book, he came across the Itsy Bitsy Spider and began the hand gesture. Of course, his rendition is much sweeter and more fun.

 

 

 

We’ve been reading to Ishaan since he was about 2 in a half months. Although his book collection started while still in my belly. Can you tell I’m one determined Mommy? I bought him my old time favorites. Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, Hello Baby Beluga, and although he still has many years before he can understand and appreciate this book, I bought it anyway. Gradually, as with all voracious readers, the collection increased. With overstocked bookshelves, we now have books piled up on his windowsill.

The older he gets, the more special story time becomes. He’s talking and emulating sounds, syllables, gestures, and memorizes many parts of the books we read to him. He’ll know when the next part is coming before we even get to it and this is just one of the many feats we have experienced in our story time journey with him. With that being said, Little Blue Truck has been one of our favorites lately. It’s a chock full of melodic words. It has a beautiful and sweet message about friendship and helping those in need. The animal noises will appeal to any child. Quack! Peep! Moo! Neigh! Oink-Oink! He mimics all the animal noises in the book and thanks to Little Blue Truck, he is now fascinated with all moving vehicles.

Little Blue Truck is engaging and has been a valuable learning tool.

Have you read this book to your child? What was his/her reaction? What books are you currently reading to your child now that you would recommend? I’d LOVE to hear.

Beep! Beep! Beep!

photo (14)

After two weeks of an unwarranted hiatus, I’m writing. I’m back.

I have been MIA these past two weeks. Life threw me in for a loop (or maybe it came to a screeching halt) and we all know how that can be. Right? And I’m not going to call them curve balls. These were downright strikeouts. I’m still not one hundred percent recovered from the hit, but adversity is not foreign to me. (Like I said here,Happiness never really taught me much) Let’s put it this way, at this point, hard times have just become an unbearable ennui, but I’m still standing. Perhaps psychologically, emotionally injured, but it didn’t knock me down. Isn’t that something? It’s true what they say. The more hardships you experience in life, the stronger you undeniably become. I have always been a strong person, but my strength sometimes catches even me by surprise.

So what’s up?

Lately I feel as if I have been blindfolded, thrown into the middle of the ocean, with no life jacket, and no haven or relief in sight. (Good thing I’m a strong swimmer) And however much I love the ocean and long for it, right now I’m in stormy seas. I can swim, but to where? I don’t know which direction I should take? Maybe I don’t want to go to the shore I have always found solace. Perhaps I seek now different sands? Or maybe, in some twisted way, I want the waves to swallow me whole. Maybe it’s not the shore I seek. Maybe it’s an island, or a boat, or a ship, or the moon, or stars, or an entirely different planet. Somewhere quiet. Some solitude. Or perhaps I’m so use to drowning that drowning doesn’t even bother me anymore and hence I don’t realize that is what’s actually happening.

I am f*&@ing drowning. The wind has been knocked out of me.

Yet I refuse to believe that I won’t find my way out of these depths. I have done it many times before. I can do it again. I just won’t be the same when I come back. In the inside, my soul resembles an old raggedy doll who has been tucked away in the attic for years. You can see the eye fell off once, but now it’s being held in place by this black thread, and the head is off to one side, there’s a patch of old fabric where the nose was, and the once colorful dress is dusty and completely washed out. It’s me, but a mutilated version of me. Believe me, it’s the kind of shit you feel in your bones.

I read once an old Buddhist saying, “You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.”  Do you think it’s true? I do.

So it’s one step at a time Linjen. (This is what I tell myself every morning) One step at a time. Take a deep breath. And though it seems right now as if this is an insurmountable obstacle, recall your boundless love for Ishaan. Love, after all, I believe, overcomes all. Just take it one day at a time. And breathe. Don’t forget to breathe. Life isn’t perfect. Love isn’t perfect. And others aren’t perfect, much less you. You have a vision, perhaps visions, realize them in spite of bumpy roads. Ishaan is depending on you. Let your love for him be a compass to do what is right. You’ll see. With time, everything will be extraordinary.

 

 

Worried Mom

On a personal note and you know I don’t mind getting personal.

With Ishaan’s birth came a lingering perpetual fear (along with waves of concerns); a fear that is unsettling and harrowing. It’s like a supernatural being that haunts me. I can’t seem to get rid of it. I am afraid this fear will be a constant in my trajectory as a Mother. (My Mom warranted this) It’s a fear that has made me paranoid. Neurotic? Or as Tapas would say, my neurosis has inevitably reached its’ peak. This person I am describing, this person consumed with fear, is autonymous to who I was. I didn’t wake up everyday with dread hanging over me. Sometimes I feel as if I am barely a recognizable shell of my former self. And perhaps it’s not as awful as I make it sound. Perhaps it is. Sometimes the dread is more subtle, quiet, obscure, but present nonetheless. Other times it’s paralyzing, noisy, and confusing. The thing is, just like with stress, I don’t know how to handle this particular anxiety. All I have ever really been afraid of my entire life is flying, and I have been on more than a handful of planes. However, I take a Valium with a glass of wine and just like that! – I pass out. It’s an easy fix. In other words, there’s an outlet. However, not with this specific daily angst. It’s a hellish loop. I’m pretty much doomed.

So what’s wrong?

I think about my mortality almost obsessively. This thought is filled with so much emotional energy, it has become self-sustaining. I am a slave to the thought on whether I will live to see Ishaan grow up. Will something happen to me? Leaving him without a mom. Or worse, will something happen to him? Leaving me without air, lifeless. I create irrational scenarios in my head of things that are unimaginable, preposterous. However, there are other plots which are very much possible if I wasn’t careful. You’re probably wondering what are these infamous fears? I am engulfed with panic thinking that he’ll be kidnapped. Or that he’ll stop breathing suddenly. I still check his breathing when he sleeps to the point if his breathing is just slightly different, I’m thinking the worse. My mind begins to ruminate over every possible calamity. When Ishaan was sick two weeks ago, his breathing became erratic one night. I was beside myself with fear. Nonetheless, I realized I had to stay composed to help him. Therefore, I held him against my chest, took deep breaths and exhaled slowly with the hopes our breathing would soon be synchronized. And I haven’t told you the really absurd irrational ones that keep me up at night. Like the thought that while Ishaan sleeps alone in the room, someone can climb up to our bedroom (I live on the second floor), open the locked window, come in and take him right back out the window. What’s wrong with me? Only the truly delirious would comprehend this. Am I going crazy? I didn’t even know these fears existed. Is this part of being a Mom? It will take strong resolve to end this or tone it down.

I understand that this is robbing me of peace and fully living in the present. I understand that at the end of the day, there are things I will never be able to control, unless I miraculously get some kind of superhero power. And however much I understand all the implications, I still worry and over worry. I’m still afraid. Fear takes a hold of me and thus dictates some of my actions. It’s the first time in my entire life I live with such immense anxiety. I’ve never known what it’s like to live this way and it’s troublesome to say the least. It dawned on me several days ago while I was sitting in front of the ocean (I told you I always immerse myself in profound reflection with the Ocean) and I gazed my eyes upon Ishaan as he napped in his stroller and said to myself, “I can’t believe this is my son. This is my son.” It sounds a bit possessive, but that’s not what I intend it to be. As I have said before, I have my heart walking the Earth now, and with that, the fear returned. I was hounded by it. This time, it was a good thing because for the first time I realized why the presentiment for catastrophe. For the first time I understood why the disquietude in my soul and heart. For the first time I was able to make sense of it. And I’m not trying to romanticize this intense, driving-me-crazy fear. I, again, want to be as honest as possible with you. See, it’s the first time in my whole life I have ever loved someone this much. The first time ever I’m afraid to lose someone I love. Before I may not have wanted to lose someone, but I didn’t necessarily fear it or fret over it, the way I do with Ishaan. It’s a love that is bigger than life. A love that with it’s depths has amplified my vulnerability and brought me to life. For many years I walked through life with my eyes closed, especially during my 20s. Both my husband and Ishaan have opened my soul and with that I now can see, feel, and taste life. But with fear. That’s not fair. I suppose it’s part of loving someone so much and understanding that they don’t belong to you. In one of my favorite books, The Prophet, a book whose philosophy and convictions changed me a great deal it reads,

 

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,

which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them,

but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

 

And I recall this everyday. Ishaan is my son, of course, but he does not belong to me. He is not a possession. And because of this, I am afraid of the moment he spreads his wings and moves on, as he should. Will he be ok? Did I teach him everything he needs to know to survive this thing we call Life? Will he be leaving behind a childhood that was safe, supportive, and filled with love? Have I been good to him? Did I love him enough?  I feel ridiculous writing this and saying all this aloud, especially with another seventeen years ahead of us. Forgive me. These are the ramblings of a Mother’s heart. Or perhaps from a nutty Mother’s heart?

 

For me, Ishaan is and always will be enough.

 

How about you? What are your fears as a first time Mom? And to the veterans – Do the fears subside? Do they change? Do they progressively get worse?

 

P.s. A Mother’s worst nightmare

I can’t watch movies like this anymore.

 

Mother's are all slightly insane

What are your plans for this weekend? We’re finally leaving on that postponed trip I mentioned last Friday.  (See you later New York!) It’s a holiday I need. This week I felt like I was losing my mind, hanging onto a very very thin thread. What’s my hope? The ocean. I’m putting all my chips in on the ocean to revive my spirit as it has done many times before. I’m past my yearly spiritual cleanse and this vacation may just give that to me. I need its’ calm. I need its’ salty scent. I love that even the air is salty as is the cool ocean breeze. I am hypnotized by the whisper of the waves crashing against the seashore. And I love how the water moves up and down, back and forth, it’s a comforting reminder that after weathering many storms, the ocean remains very much alive. So why aren’t I? In other words, stop sulking Linjen.

Moving on.

Several nights ago, while having dinner, I asked Tapas what is he looking forward to most on this trip. He responds, “Seeing Ishaan experience this and feeling the sun on my back. What about you?” He asked.

For me its…

The whole experience of Ishaan in a new environment. Ishaan’s disgruntled look when he realizes he may not be able to get up and walk around in the plane. Say what! Ishaan’s face when he sits on my lap on the plane and looks outside the window. He’ll be up close and personal with clouds and the sky for the first time. I can already see the flight attendants ogling over him. I anticipate Ishaan digging his toes into the sand, making a sand castle with him and knowing that it will only be minutes before he does what he does best: topple the entire thing to the floor. This cracks him up by the way. I can’t wait to see him in the pool splashing around in our arms, and I especially have high hopes that this time he’ll love the natural papaya juice in the mornings. My number two is being with the Ocean once more. I’d like to teach him one day to sit with the Ocean. Alone.  And do you know I’ve no idea how to relax? I have forgotten. Really. I have. I never sit while at home. My son keeps me on my toes. Therefore, I want to relax. I want to sit back, unwind, and breathe. Think it’ll happen?

With that being said, I have to finalize my packing. By the way, is there ever a right way to pack? Here are some great packing tips for parents and their babies.

And this is what I was up to this past week:

I love Art and I mean the way many feel when they are falling in love. It’s magical. The more wall space I have, the more art goes up. One of my favorite art pieces in all of my home is this one . Long ago, I felt that I was her. Or perhaps she was me? I understood her. I understood why she gave her back and embraced her knees in the nude, wanting to draw strength from within. I think many times in my life my soul has sat down that way, quietly, retreating from the rest of the world. I have others, but this one encapsulates me best. However, I haven’t purchased any art lately and that’s because I haven’t found something that speaks to me, something that I can marvel at. I am yearning for some really good art, but something a little more personal. A piece that is made just for me. Hence, Ishaan’s Valentine’s Day gift. I’m customizing his to say _______. Come back on the 14th! It’s a surprise.

What was my new recipe this week? (I’m trying something new every week.)  I made this delicious meal. Only I substituted the olive oil for coconut oil. Did I tell you that’s my new love? (Ishaan devoured it!) Even the scent of the rosemary in the oven was divine.

He’s also snacking a lot on this.

Call me old school (by the way, I still have a landline. Archaic?)  but I am looking for something to help me stay organized. My notepad really doesn’t cut it. Hence, I bought this cork board and I’m excited about all my blog notes I’ll be putting up there. Of course,  I’ll be  adding anything and everything about Ishaan. He has an absent-minded Mommy. Also, I think it being framed makes it a very nice decorative piece for my writing space.

Do you remember these days?. Life pre-baby.

By the way, this cuddly, crazy-cute dog lives in my building. 

Have a wonderful weekend. SoulconAlas will resume on February 9th. In the meantime, if you’d like to keep in touch, follow me on Twitter: @soulconalas, Instagram: @ljish, and Facebook: SoulconAlas.

Eyebrows

Lately I have been wanting to feel different, though I am not completely sure what that means. Maybe it’s a manifestation of feeling like I have aged an entire century this past year. Perhaps it’s season inspired. Or perhaps it’s my insomnia that has made me a little crazier, a little more incoherent, ambiguous. Maybe there’s a real deep meaning to this. One of those that require deep introspection and reevaluation. Neither of which I have time for. Or, just maybe, letting my eyebrows grow out is a damn metaphor for everything I am feeling in my life. And by everything, I mean all that’s beautiful and crummy.

Several days ago I dug out my high school yearbook. Why would someone like me, who looks back at those years as purely agonizing do that? Again, my insomnia is responsible for all my idiosyncracies between midnight and 5am. When I came across my picture, I hung my head in shame. Who was that? Where were my eyebrows? I had and continue to have very thin light brown hair, hence waxing did nothing for my face. And what was I aiming for with the exaggerated over plucked arch? Oh! The 90s! Even the fashion was painful.

Fast forward to the present.

I am fully aware of my advantages and disadvantages. I am hairless. I’m not kidding. Though the picture may sound awful and gross, I can go a couple of months without shaving my legs and no one will notice. Except Tapas of course. I don’t have any hair in my arms, or a moustache, much less sideburns (I see that some women do and sport it too. More power to you!). However, my sparse hair is an unfortunate perk when it comes to my eyebrows. Let’s face it. Eyebrows can make or break you. Hence, why I’m letting mine grow out. That’s right. I’m going bushy a-la-Jennifer Connelly.

If you saw me, you would think I have never heard of tweezers before. It’s an awful period, growing out your eyebrows. I grew them out once before for my wedding and it made a world of a difference. Hence, I am familiar with this grueling process. My face looked, well, quite nice. My eyebrows were full, big, and bold then. But since I moved to Brooklyn, I haven’t found anyone who understood those three adjectives. I have reached the point where I’m going to return to my old spot in the City. It’s a 45 minute train ride, but hey! We’re talking about eyebrows here. This is important.

What am I doing to conceal the disheveled look? I apply eyebrow powder or this amazing eyebrow mascara from Sephora. I make them look fuller, darker, and a little less messy. However, it’s pretty obvious when you look at me that I need tweezers (or in my case threading) desperately.

The million dollar question is do I have the patience? It takes about six months for them to grow out, therefore one needs more than a handful of it during this slow brutal process. However, on certain days it’s impossible. You will suffer, especially when you come out of the shower feeling like a new person and you see yourself in the mirror. My motivation? The results. However, if I could somehow speed up the process naturally, it wouldn’t hurt. Thus, I did some research and found a handful of various brow serums filled with chemicals I can’t even pronounce. That’s a big fat no in my book. Fortunately, I came across this natural, organic, DIY concoction and it’s a winner.  I am extremely familiar with Castor Oil. I wash my face with a mix of that and Sunflower Seed Oil every night. More of that here.

So here it goes. I’m going for the kill.

 

Are you trying to grow out your eyebrows? Have you had any success?

 

By the way, here’s a link on growing your eyebrows au naturel

 

On having the perfect brow.

 

A quote on eyebrows.

Audrey Hepburn waving
The weekend is here and my cabin fever is at its peak. I was supposed to be on a plane now, with a glass of wine in my hand, my headphones on, listening to Bebe, and (fingers crossed) Ishaan asleep in Tapas’ arms. Please excuse me as I let out a really deep sigh realizing the reality is vastly different.

This past week I have played not only Mommy, but Nurse as well. Ishaan has been sick. Very sick. It’s been an emotional roller coaster for all of us. Your heart breaks into tiny little pieces when you feel helpless at your son’s high fevers and profound discomfort, which result to inconsolable cries. Especially when he’s so happy, talkative, and an adorable mess (he throws everything on the floor). However, these past several days his amiable disposition has been lost. I missed him. I longed for him. One night he slept on my chest for several hours as he had become a lot more clingy towards me, not that I mind, of course. I am more than happy to give him extra TLC when he needs or wants it.  Most of the time my husband or mom were carrying him, he immediately started calling for me, “Mama! Mama!” Melts my heart. It’s a sweet, angelic voice that I blissfully am captive of.  The good news is that the teamwork has paid off. (High five Tapas!) He’s now without fever for the past two days but still with cold-like symptoms. Hence, why we postponed our trip for next weekend. We were cleared by the Pediatrician for travel, but we could not risk it. Besides, who wants to fly when feeling under the weather? It would not have been fair to him. I want him to enjoy this trip. To be present not only physically, but mentally, spiritually. Therefore the hiatus that Tapas needs from this portal vortex, and the break that I need from the mundane concerns of day-to-day life will have to wait another unbearable seven days.

In the mean time…

Eric Carle - From Head to Toe

Eric Carle – From Head to Toe

There’s the weekend. And though we are planning on keeping it low-key, I think it’s good for Ishaan to get a breath of fresh air. Thus, off to the bookstore we go. Ishaan really loves to read. Or at his age, look at the pictures while we read. He has a couple of favorites. The classic Nursery Rhymes from Mother Goose, the Eric Carle collection, specifically Brown Bear – Brown Bear, The Sleepy Little Alphabet, and We’re Going On A Bear Hunt. It’s such a feat and delight to see him grab a “buh,” and bring it over to us so we can read to him. However, the most exciting and amazing part of this routine is watching him place a book on his lap, open the book, and slowly and with much attention flip each page of the book, as if he were creating his own story in his head. He turns the pages with such delicacy, with such grace. The way one holds a magazine and carefully turns the page with one finger fearing a tear.  Tapas and I watch silently with smiles only our son can summon.

And here’s what I was up to this week when I wasn’t administering Ibuprofen or Tylenol.

 

A song I dedicated to my son. (He loves the video too)

Another great and moving song for your kids. I especially love the lines, “I see Me in You. You in Me.” (Because I always do. All the time. Everyday.)

Preparing for my 3 month detox to hopefully begin the journey on healing my MS.

Almost done reading.

Found some pretty amazing girly gifts here.

My next recipe .

And this one too.

Must have this hat.

One day I will have my camel back sofa. One day.

Busted.

Busted.

 

What are you up to this weekend? What are your kids reading today? Do you have any recommendations? I’d love to hear some favorites. 

Enjoy the weekend.

On a side note, giving Ishaan a cool bath at 3:30am on an evening his fever reached 104, helped tremendously. Brought the fever down and he was no longer as uncomfortable. A tip for those who haven’t tried it. 

 

 

 

White tee 1

Motherhood has made me a bigger minimalist than I was before. The more time passes the more I want to simplify my life, however impossible it seems to be most of the time, and what I wear has a lot to do with it.

I am usually a jeans and t-shirt kind of gal, more so now that I have a baby. (Tapas wishes it wasn’t so.) But, again, time. When I step out of the house I don’t have the time and energy to think about what I am going to wear. I can’t focus on those normal things anymore. All I want is something simple, casual, comfortable but staying within my sense of style. And nothing is more perfect than the versatile plain white t-shirt. You can dress it up or dress it down. It’s the piece for lazy days, although it’s not laziness that inspires my love for this unpretentious ensemble. My inspiration comes from the fact that I love how white looks on me. It’s the quintessential tee for Moms who still want to look presentable, perhaps flattering, but keeping it low key.

There are different styles of white shirts (t-shirt, oxford, and v-neck), but I really am all about the traditional and faithful crew neck t-shirt. It’s simplicity allows you to be more creative with it. You can do whatever you want with it. Really make it your own. Think of it as a work of art, but putting it together in about 5 minutes or less. A great outfit would be pairing it up with skinny jeans, or, what I would do (since my Converse collection speaks volumes) is wear it like this, with these vintage jeans from Redun. I really love this look.

You’re probably wondering why am I writing about wearing white after Labor Day? Aren’t I breaking a fashion cardinal rule? You should know I have never abided by this rule. I find it quite comical that so many people do and without knowing why they are doing it. I have one question. Who’s enforcing this rule? No one. Therefore, fashion rules don’t apply to me much. They seem totalitarian and asinine. I’ve never been one to follow rules, much less with what I wear. Hence, learn to have a little more fun with not just fashion as a form of art, but your fashion. Become the innovator with your wardrobe. After all, what you wear is really about you.

So let’s have some fun putting it together.

 

white tee 3

You can use it as a layering piece under a sweater or put a jacket over it and it makes for a perfect Friday work attire. It retains not only the conservative look, but keeping it casual. However, I’d wear it with pumps to work to give it a bit more jazz. Though these gladiator sandals are perfect for Saturday brunch mimosas.

This is my favorite look with any style or color shirt/blouse.

This is my favorite look with any style or color shirt/blouse.

I spent all last summer tucking in my t-shirts or blouses halfway. I became the master of the half tuck in. I love the look so much I took it right into Fall. But I didn’t stop there.

white tee with maxi skirt

This one is tough for me, as I have unconsciously relinquished skirts, but hopefully that’s not a forever thing. This boho look is simple and great for a summer day! I’ll probably try it as I do love maxi skirts.

scart with white tee

Don’t like wearing jewelry. No problem. Add a scarf instead.

white tee 2

I fell in love with this one. Different, which is always good. The exposure of the back reflects a subtle sexuality and that’s one body part I do enjoy showing off. However, I’d pick up my hair in a messy bun instead to give it its fair vulnerability.

plaid

My other love, plaid button down shirts. And it pairs ideally with the white tee.

A big advantage of these white t-shirts is affordability for those who are on the thrifty side. You can get them at a fair price with Hanes. They are under $10 and can be found anywhere. At a Duane Reade,Target, or Walmart. If you like a loose fit, steal them from your boyfriend’s/husband’s closet. That’s what I do! (Ladies, he hates it) Though I must say, I really love a man in a white tee as well. This is Tapas’ signature look. It’s part of his everyday attire. He wears them under his work shirts mostly and at home.

However, if you don’t mind spending the buck on a white t-shirt you can definitely find yourself spending up to $100. I really like this one too from Aritzia.com, for $45.

How about you? Do you like plain white t-shirts? If so, which style and how would you dress it? I’d love to hear.

By the way, if you love vintage jeans as much as I do, Redun is getting some pretty great reviews and their jeans are must haves. Follow them on Instagram.

Happy MLK Day!

%d bloggers like this: